Coronavirus Cases on Rise in DC Area as Leaders Look Toward Reopening

Here’s where we are Tuesday in the fight against coronavirus in the D.C. area

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The leaders of D.C., Maryland and Virginia each have announced plans to reopen the economies once coronavirus cases subside, but the number of people infected or killed by the virus is still on the rise. 

Data released Tuesday morning shows jumps in the number of cases and deaths. D.C. announced an additional 102 cases and five deaths. Maryland announced another 626 cases and 71 deaths. And Virginia shared news of another 758 cases and 33 deaths. 

For D.C. to reopen, officials will have to see a drop in the number of virus cases over a two-week period, Mayor Muriel Bowser said. Virginia will follow the same standard, Gov. Ralph Northam said. In Maryland, officials will look for a 14-day decline or plateau in the number of people hospitalized and the number of people admitted to intensive care, Gov. Larry Hogan said. 

As eager as D.C. residents are to start to live more normal lives, the stay-at-home order and restrictions on businesses need to stay in place for now, Bowser said Monday

“It continues to be critical that D.C. residents stay at home and practice social distancing,” she said.

Here’s where we are Tuesday in the fight against coronavirus in the D.C. area. 

A total of 37,173 people in the region have been infected with the virus. At least 1,530 have died. Go here for full details

Coronavirus Cases in DC, Maryland and Virginia

COVID-19 cases by population in D.C. and by county in Maryland and Virginia

Source: DC, MD and VA Health Departments
Credit: Anisa Holmes / NBC Washington

In Maryland, a special election is underway to choose a candidate to finish the term of the late Rep. Elijah Cummings, who died in October. Democrat Kweisi Mfume and Republican Kimberly Klacik are facing off for the 7th Congressional District seat. Three polling centers are open after officials encouraged mail-in voting, in what’s being viewed as a test of how future elections might safely be held during the pandemic.

In Virginia, the governor said he was open to the idea of opening businesses in the southwest portion of the state before other regions. He cited the city of Bristol, where restaurants on the Tennessee side of the border can provide dine-in service but those on the Virginia side cannot.

“To try to be consistent, is it really fair for Tennessee's businesses to be open and Virginia's not to be?” Northam asked. "I'm open-minded to all of that. I would say, ‘Stay tuned.'”

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam announced what it would take for the state to begin reopening. News4's Northern Virginia bureau chief Julie Carey has the details.

When more people in the D.C. area commute to work again, will more people choose to drive instead of taking public transportation? On Twitter, some commuters told News4’s Adam Tuss they will drive or keep working from home

When commuters do fully return back to work, there’s concern that many more may be driving as a way to keep separated -- and that could further add to the region’s already crippling traffic. News4's Adam Tuss reports.

Archival photos show what D.C. was like during the flu pandemic of 1918. A directive from the government looks familiar: "Stay at home and remain there until the fever is over." 

Photos Show How DC Faced the 1918 Flu Pandemic

And here’s just one example of how people are helping others at this difficult time: The D.C. store Labyrinth Games & Puzzles donated about $2,500 worth of games to children in shelters, with the help of funds from donors. 

For kids with an internet connection, the store is facilitating online games of Dungeons & Dragons, owner Kathleen Donahue said. 

“The Dungeon Masters are working from home. They all have their Zoom cameras and we’re doing it,” she said. 

One local game shop is stepping up to help provide kids in D.C. shelters with games and educational puzzles for mental stimulation and fun. News4's Tommy McFly reports.

Neither D.C.’s mayor nor the governors of Maryland or Virginia are expected to address the public on Tuesday. 

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